Welcoming Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple, July 2015
Chairman, Datta Yoga Center - USA
It is again my distinct pleasure, opportunity to invite Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji to the magnificent, majestic and a memorable newly constructed Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco, Texas. We are blessed to have assembled here on this auspicious day to commence the Maha Kumbhabhishekam activities. Today is also auspicious because one of the biggest Ratha Yatra – Chariot Festival- starts today where Lord Jagannath of Puri along with brother Balachandra and sister Subhadra are taken in a grand precession from the Temple to the awaiting Ratha to start a nine day vacation to go to a country side. It is also the birthday of Nelson Mandela, the former prisoner and former President of South Africa who knew every verse of Bhagavad Gita.
It is simply the power of Sri Swamiji’s sankalpa, his conception of the Temple, his constant guidance, his continuous vigil, and his incessant inspiration shaped this amazing and colorful Temple to come to a reality. Probably this is the largest Temple that would accommodate about 3700 people at a given time.
Our Temple has become a talk of the town. Thousands and thousands of people of across USA and around the world talk about the Hanuman Temple, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and Vanarasena. Whenever people come to the Temple, they all say this temple is different. They say they experience so many good vibrations, peace of mind, unknown feeling of bliss and happiness, a number of miracles, reduction in stress, and dissipation of anger. They are amazed at the progress the Temple has made in such a short time. They are astonished about Sri Swamiji’s powers, Vak Shuddi, sankalpa, guidance, and influence on the devotees. They are astounded at the dedication of Vanarasena volunteers who spend countless hours directing the traffic whether it is raining, snowing, and shining; spend countless hours cooking and feeding thousands and thousands of people; silently spend hours together cleaning inside the temple, outside the temple and out on the lawn area; arranging the programs with dedication and passion; meeting on a weekly basis to plan the events to avoid the potential pitfalls; spending hours tenaciously schedule the daily pujas, prepare for the festivals and meet the religious needs of the devotees.
Ever since the construction of New Temple started, Sri Swamiji’s Vanarasena doubled their effort to do their selfless seva, they made all the arrangements to transport the shilpis every day at odd hours back and forth from their apartments, made several trips to the shopping centers and rental places, engaged in food sales; interacted frequently with pertinent offices and officials, and achieved the trust of the devotees and the community. During this period, they have mowed the lawns, made parking arrangements, dusted the floors in the new temple, carried the bricks and mortar, scrubbed the floors, chipped the drive ways, and even drove the big equipment. They stayed on the construction site past midnight several days over this period. Their dedication is exemplary superb and beyond explanation. One wonders as to what kind of mind set they may have developed to do this kind of nishkama karma?
Then the question is “who is this Swamiji who can make all these things happen?” What did he do to these people? Why do they do what they do with so much passion, zeal, enthusiasm, dedication and devotion? Some of them grew up with Sri Swamiji, some of them had unbelievable experiences in life, some of them questioned him tested him and realized the power of Guru, some of them got attracted to his magnetic personality, some of them found peace of mind they never had before, some found him to be their mother, father and friend; Some of them simply got influenced by the selfless service of Vanarasena. They all realized they were mere instruments in the hands of our Sadguru Sri Swamiji and Sri Swamiji is the kartha, the doer, the author, and builder of this Temple. Sri Swamiji is Lord Krishna and Vanarasena members are the gopis.
How do you describe Sri Swamiji?
Sri Swamiji is a Sadguru who is not easily understood, He cannot be fathomed. He is beyond our perception, our understanding and our comprehension. Judge him not, measure him not, analyze him not, calculate him not, dissect him not, and criticize him not. Do not use any yardsticks of ignorance, arrogance, pride and egoism. Mind cannot comprehend. We cannot understand his qualities, his behavior, his persona and his grace. When he speaks, just listen to him. When he sits, just watch him. If he smiles, enjoy it. If he remains silent, learn the tranquility. Pay attention to every movement.
Sant Tukaram talk about the depth of a Guru as follows:
The earth is His joy; His joy is the sky;
His joy is the flashing of the sun and the moon;
His joy is the beginning, the middle, and the end;
His joy is eyes, darkness, and light.
Oceans and waves are His joy; His joy the Sarasvati, the Jamuna, and the Ganges.
The guru is One; and life and death, union and separation, are all His plays of joy!
His play the land and water, the whole universe!
His play the earth and the sky!
In play is the Creation spread out, in play it is established.
The whole world, says Kabir, rests in His play, yet still; the Player remains unknown.
Realizing the enormous power of a Guru, Jnanadev says he cannot describe him adequately. "Is it possible," he asks, "to add luster to the sun? Is it possible to crown the Kalpataru with flowers? Is it possible to add a scent to camphor? How can the sandal tree be made more fragrant? How can nectar be re-dressed for meals? . . . How can one add a hue to the pearl? Or what is the propriety of giving a silver polish to gold? It is better that one should remain silent, and silently bow to the feet of his master" (X. 9-15).
Guru Nanak’s admiration toward Guru is well documented. According to him, “The Palace of the Lord God is so beautiful. Within it, there are gems, rubies, pearls and flawless diamonds. A fortress of gold surrounds this Source of Nectar. How can I climb up to the Fortress without a ladder? By meditating on the Lord, through the Guru, I am blessed and exalted. The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name. The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River. If it pleases Him, I bathe in the Pool of Truth, and become radiant and pure." (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag, pg. 17)
Sri Swamiji and the Mind
Sri Swamiji keeps talking about the oscillation of mind, and it can rob the tranquility, the very nature of a human being. Sri Swamiji recognizing the torment that can be caused by the mind. He stated in 1985 “Man’s ascent to divinity or descent or rise or fall in the cultural evolution, depends solely on the state or quality of his mind. Mind by itself will always be agitated and uneasy. It is by nature fickle, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate. It is to control or quieten just as to control wind. “ In order to calm the mind, Sri Swamiji says, “such positive virtues like friendship, compassion, contentment, and indifference toward worldly enjoyment etc., should be cultivated by purging the mind of its negative tendencies such as hated, cruelty, discontentment and longing for worldly enjoyment.”
It is an arduous task for any ordinary individual to face the stress and strains in the world of work as well as in the domestic arena. Mind is swayed away by so many forces that are competing to take away the very essence human life. Mind is constantly changing, is described as chenchala (wavering) and asthila (unsteady). It is compared to a money that keeps on hopping and jumping with no stability, to a street dog that gets beaten up every place it visits, to a mercury that splashes into several drops when it falls on the ground, to a tennis ball that bounces in all directions depending on who hits it, and to a pendulum that keeps oscillating back and forth and up and down.
“May my mind be of good intent, whether wakeful or asleep. May that wonder-being inside the beings, by which the active and the wise perform duties and intellectual activities, be of beautiful intent? May the mind without which no act is done be of auspicious resolve.”
The mind is fickle, turbulent, and stormy. With its tremendous power it can control your body, your actions and limit your thinking capacity. Even if you try to control it, restrain it, it becomes impossible. Nobody can control it. Mind is very strong. It does not depend on the strength of the body. Body might be weak but the mind is strong.
And the mind has tremendous stamina – staying power. Sometimes people maintain anger in their mind for years together. They retain it. They even pass it on to their children. To keep a thought, image, hatred requires strength. Mind is most amazing phenomenon. It jumps from one object to another. It changes every second. It can become turbulent. It is strong. It can retain a thought for years together.
Lord Rama was so much concerned about torrential effect of mind and expresses his agony as follows in Yogavasishta: "My mind is flying to sensual objects, resistless as though drawn by a magnet. This baneful mind does not like the real joy that comes from within, but travels outward (to worldly pleasures). It is like a torrent, seething, writhing, uncontrolled, destroying in its onward rush, all the finer sensibilities. As a straw is tossed into the air, and a tree is shaken by the wind, so is the action of the mind. It lifts me up to the highest realm, then drops me unmercifully to the lowest depths of the earth. This terrible state of mind is more dangerous than a consuming flame. It is possible to dry up the ocean, to root out the Himalaya Mountains, or to eat fire, but it is harder, by far, to control the mind. It is the creator of all objects. This universe appeared when the mind came into existence, then disappeared with the absence of mind. Hence the mind should be controlled. With the control of mind, all pains and all sorrows will perish.”
Sri Swamiji is a great psychologist, a dexterous doctor and an astute mentalist all in one. His penetrating eyes pierce through your mind and body to detect the imbalance, and also dissect every part of the body and probes the brain cells. He is a silent teacher who help the devotees to transform themselves through his teachings, looks, personality and silence. His help is imperative to his devotees to go through different stages and make them evolve. He takes his devotee whose mind is primitive, agitated, angry, stressed out stage to the stage of Sachchidananda – bliss. Buddhists talk about two types of minds – Little mind and Big mind or we may call them Ordinary mind and Natural mind. Our scriptures went beyond these two stages and spoke about two other entities: Super mind or Supreme mind and the ultimate Sachchidananda.
This little mind is delude, arrogant, egoistic, unpredictable, confused, depressed, impulsive and never satisfied.
Big mind is described as focused, patient, tolerant, calm, pure, peaceful, trustful, confident, and generous and self-sacrifice.
Supermind is a plane of perfect knowledge that has the full, integral truth of anything. It is a plane that Man can rise to above his current limited mentality so he too can have perfect understanding of a matter that enters his mind seemingly out of nowhere through revelations of that truth.When one rises above mind, even illumination, intuition, and revelation of understanding, one has the experience of supramental perception. In Supermind one has the experience of the total realization/ideation of an object of knowledge without thought, as it simply is there in the mind anew. Supramental perception involves a totality of knowing, as opposed to the very partial, limited perception of mind that knows but one side of a matter.
Another way to look at the levels of mind is looking at the billions of neurons found in the brain. Lesser the interconnectedness of neurons in the brain, more agitation, more anger and more confusion. High number of interconnectedness among the neuron is related to higher peace of mind, less stress, more focused and less agitation. Research has shown positive relationship between work and interconnectedness of neurons.
Sri Swamiji can see his devotees through is Inner Eye. He can free his devotees from the little mind stage to embark on the SAT SCHD ANANDA stage. This is done by helping his devotees to develop Viveka (discriminatory power) to distinguish between what is real, useful permanent, moral, ethical, principled and, helpful to what is unreal, confusion, anxiety, intolerance and unethical.
How a Guru Can subdue the mind?
Sage Vasishta advices Lord Rama to subdue the mind, tame it and control it. He says,"There are four soldiers who guard the road to liberation. They are Patience (or peace of mind), Atmic Inquiry, Contentment, and Association with the Wise. If you can succeed in making one of the above a friend, then the others will be easy. That one will introduce you to the others. Without gaining their friendship, they will not permit you to enter upon the road to liberation. Association with the Wise will help us to overcome the Maya (illusion) …. The Wise are like ships that help us safely across the ocean of rebirths. If you continue to follow Sri Swamiji and remain in his fold you will be benefitted by his magnetic personality and spiritual vibration that are emitted by his looks. His company is like an umbrella to provide shelter and like a fortress providing protection from outside dangers. Sri Swamiji will elevate you to mental attitude to a higher level. Then you will not be trapped by your own failings, volitions and egoism and you are not swayed by delusion, passion, and aberrations.
Sage Vasishta says to Lord Rama, “No one can achieve that blissful state by merely inquiring about the Atmic Wisdom. It must come through self-experience or through the help of a Guru. Merely reading books of wisdom breeds more ignorance. Keep in mind that it will be much better to live by begging food from the outcasts, than to live an ignorant life. O Ram, if only one of the four guards is made your friend—namely, Patience is mastered—then all your miseries and sorrows will fly from you as darkness flies from the light. Those who have mastered patience will never be upset by poverty or wealth. They will remain the same in peace or war.”
Ramana Maharishi observed, "The ego (mind) is a very powerful elephant and cannot be brought under control by anyone less than a lion, who is no other than the Guru in this instance; whose very look makes the elephant tremble and die. We will know in due course that our glory lies where we cease to exist. In order to gain that state, one should surrender oneself saying, "Lord, Thou art my refuge!" The master then sees" This man is in a fit state to receive guidance," and so guides him."
Sri Swamiji’s Devotees
Swamiji made all our devotees realize the power of devotion (bhakti), power of Nama, supremacy of music and benefits of yoga. Just Hanuman achieved the success in flying over the ocean by chanting the Lord Ramas name, it is Hanuman name in the form of Sri Swamiji who succeeded in building this magnificent majestic Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple for the welfare of the entire nation.
Sri Swamiji is a guide who can help you cross the ocean, father who is caring to the needs of his children, mother who is ever loving and compassionate, a friend who helps his devotees in need, a teacher who answers our queries to remove the darkness, a pilot who helps his devotees to navigate through their lives, and a musician who can be instrumental in healing by affecting every part of the body.
Sri Swamiji helps his devotees by directing them to follow the righteous path, by disseminating the knowledge necessary to lead the day to day life, by controlling the mind of his devotees to develop one pointed concentration and by making the realize the importance of developing sampurna bhakti (total devotion) and also the need for sharanagati at the lotus feet of a Sadguru.
I feel that each member of Vanarasena feel the same sentiments as expressed by Sant Jnanadev: “he must regard himself fortunate that he is not maimed of body so as to be prevented from engaging in Bhajana; fortunate is he that he is not blind; fortunate is he that he is not lame; fortunate is he that he is not dumb; fortunate is he that he is not idle, for he would have been otherwise uselessly fed; fortunate is he that he is entertaining real love for his master; it is for these reasons, says Jnanesvara that he has been nourishing his body in order that he might do spiritual service to his Teacher.”
I am also reminded of the qualities of the Vanarasena of Sri Swamiji that we all have to admire were narrated by Jnanadev: Sufferance, joy, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion, unattachment, devotion and un-egoism. Sufferance means courageously bearing the various hurdles, and never gets tormented under 100 degree heat and never shaken under freezing weather. Vanarasena people are never feel that they are suffering under any of the unfavorable conditions. They are committed to engage in service as to the expectations of our Sadguru, and cherish on the love and compassion of their Guru. They are steadfast in not allowing their mind to waver to the external comments and not be influenced by their own fickle mind. They do not turn back their mind even when they face certain afflictions and desires.
The Vanarasena members also developed self-control by not obeying to the commands of their senses. They are able develop that Viveka whereby they are able to distinguish between dharma and adharma. They are a bunch of devotees who are un-egoistic doing their job with passion and addiction without ever taking credit or expressing pride for having done their duty. No doubt Sri Swamiji has transformed these devotees to be good volunteers who exemplify the best in them shedding any kind of egoism and purifying their minds.
Bhakti is imperative.
If we want to identify with Sri Swamiji, understand the virtues of his divine personality, grasp the meaning of his discourses, recognize inner meaning of his messages, experience the magnetic personality, absorb the vibrations of his healing music, and cherish his ever present love and compassion, a devotees has to develop unquestionable, unwavering and indisputable faith in Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji stated, “Devotion to God is essential for concentrating the mind on the Lord. The base desires have their origin in the mind. Devotion can bring the mind under control. Unless this done, desires flare up as fires flare up.”
All the scriptures emphasize the importance of bhakti – devotion to God or a Guru. It is only through Bhakti, you can come close to our Sadguru. Scriptures talk about bhakti of Sabari, Prahalada, Hanuman, Garuda, Akroora, Uddhava and many other figures. It is not easy to develop bhakti so easily. Even Arjun was confused about his responsibilities to uphold dharma. Arjuna asks Lord Krishna, "My soul is oppressed by a sense of frustration. My mind is unable to determine what is right. I am requesting you to tell me definitely what is for my good. I am your pupil. Teach me. I have surrendered myself to you."(Bhagavad Gita 2:7)
"Let your mind be constantly directed towards me; be devoted to me; dedicate all your actions to me; prostrate yourself before me; over and above the claims of all Dharmas (duties) is complete surrender to me and me alone". (18:65-66). It is only one-pointed devotion that would enable the devotees come close to Sri Swamiji and our Vanarasena team is the best example to reflect that total faith (shradda) and dedication. You get the impression that the Vanarasena knew that “To those who constantly think of me, with no thought in mind and worship me with ardent devotion, to such persons whose mind is always fixed in Me, I shall provide them their needs and preserve what they have.” (9:22). It is their ananya bhakti (exclusive bhakti) that make them think of Sri Swamiji constantly, that make them do selfless service.
In fact Sri Swamiji stated that “Bhakti dominated by Sattva guna is the best. Here the Bhakta is possessed by a selfless spirit and exclusive devotion to his chosen deity. He will have control over the inner enemies known as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride and prejudice.” Then he will develop the mental attitude f lending helping hand with a charitable disposition.
Where did the Vanarasena learn this kind of work ethic and excel in in doing this selfless service? It is through the association of Sri Swamiji they were able to appreciate the importance of dedication, unwavering faith. Sri Swamiji through his speeches, music, yoga, looks and silence, he was able to annihilate the ignorance, control the unruly mind, destroy the delusion and impart vairagya. In many cases Sri Swamiji’s presence itself removed the negative thoughts, developed sattvic nature, subdued the destroyed the delusion I and me and provided the joy and bliss. The bliss reigns supreme only if we overcome the tensions, turmoil, and tribulations of the mind under his ever watchful eye of Sri Swamiji.
Swami Sivananda says, “It thoroughly overhauls the mind and changes the current and its Rajasic nature. It removes the old Vishaya-Samskaras and fills the mind with Sattvic Samskaras. It destroys the three fires-Adhyatmic, Adhibhautic and Adhidaivic Tapa-and cools the Antahkarana. It destroys Moha. If you can have Satsanga, you need not go to any Tirtha. It is Tirtha of Tirthas. Wherever there is Satsanga, the sacred Triveni is already there.”
As we carry on our duties, it is worth remembering the immortal verse of Rabindranath Tagore:
Remain in bliss in this world
Fearless, pure in heart
Wake up in bliss every morning,
Carry out all your duties in bliss,
Remain in bliss in weal and woe,
In criticism and insult,
Remain in bliss unaffected,
Remain in bliss pardoning everybody!
Let us join our hands in welcoming Sri Swamiji’s who is establishing the first ever agrahara in USA by constructing the largest Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in USA. Also welcome Sri Swamiji who infused the concept of selfless service to all the devotees as well as the Vanarasena team. Jain Guru Hanuman.